I used to feel quite anxious about starting to teach classes in the new school year. I learned to prepare for the new school year by taking certain steps. I’d like to share a post I wrote earlier about what I do to help me prepare for that first week of classes.
The first day of school is fast approaching, and I really need to start to think about getting ready for it. I’ve been teaching for a while so there have been many first days, and I’m pleased to say ( actually I’m quite relieved to say ) that I’ve found steps to take that make that first day and that first week a success. That first week is so important because it sets the tone for the rest of the semester.
I’m going to remind myself of what to do to have a successful first day and first week by reviewing the strategies I use for each step. I invite you to review each step with me, so just click on the link I’ve provided in each step.
Step 1- Reduce Stress
Just thinking about the first day of school itself can be stressful, but it needn’t be. Here’s why.
Step 2- Think positively
Think positively. If you have a positive attitude you’ll believe and act as if all students will be successful in your class. If you have a positive attitude there are no losers in your classroom despite what you’ve might have heard. Students will live up to your expectations. Think and act as if students are trouble, believe me they won’t disappoint you. Here’s why.
Step 3- Remember the nine lessons your students taught you about classroom management
Your students will tell you by their behaviour what they like and don’t like all you have to do is ask them. Here’s what my students told me.
Step 4- Create the class rules or agreements collaboratively
Create the classroom agreements together and students are more likely to buy into them. Here’s how I do that and the Slideshare Video I use to review our agreements.
Step 5- Remember respect in the classroom is a two way street
Step 6- Get your students to tell you how they feel about different aspects of school
Remember respect is a two way street going from the teacher to the student and from the student to the teacher. As much as I would like it to be, respect for teachers isn’t always automatic. It must be earned. Here’s what I do.
Step 6- Get students to tell me how they feel about different aspects of school
It’s good to get students to reflect about different aspects of school in and out of the classroom. The information that I get from these questionnaires help me better understand my students and informs my interactions with them. I ask these questions.
Step 7- Realize that a students emotional state will affect a student’s learning and behaviour
Realize that the emotional state of a student can thwart learning. Consider this.
Filed Under Behaviour Management, establishing a respectful classroom, maintaining a safe, motivating students, positive climate, Special Education, special needs students, underachieving students | Leave a Comment
Given that school is about to start up again, I thought it useful to repost this article about using 21st century students’ expectations to inform our teaching practices.
Usually during the summer break after I’ve been away from the craziness of the June classroom for a while, a good long while, I begin to reflect on my teaching practice for the previous year. Usually this reflection includes reflecting on expectations, mine and my students. I want to be sure my expectations are reasonable given the nature of the changing 21st century classroom and students. I’ve taught for 30 years so some things have really changed and some haven’t. Today, I’m reflecting on things my students have told me they expect from teachers that really have nothing to do with cell phones, ipads, tablets etc or the 21st century. Students have told me they would like teachers to
- not abuse their power and order students around as if they control their lives;
- respect students personal lives and not bug them about personal things that are none of their business;
- not yell at students because that just makes them mad and not want to listen;
- not talk about themselves all the time and show that they’re smarter than students are because students find it discouraging;
- not treat students like they don’t know anything;
- have respect for students no matter what they’ve have done before;
- listen to both sides of the story;
- be equally fair to all students;
- try to help all students have the best results in class;
- give less homework because it is hard to do homework by themselves if they cannot ask the teacher;
- give more free time in class to do homework;
- give less homework because it is boring and takes away from time with family and friends;
- let students eat in class because sometimes they are hungry in class and can’t stay awake in class;
- not give homework before the holidays;
- let students listen to music while working in class;
- let students watch videos in class and not have to write about them;
- to want students to pass their classes;
- to be helpful, respectful, and fun to be around.
Basically students want teachers to respect them, but then of course teachers want students to respect them, too. Respect is a two way street that is constantly under construction. My students’ expectations help inform my teaching practice and enables me to create an inviting classroom where my students and I can do our best.
You might want to ask your students to tell you what they expect from teachers. I found students are not shy about revealing their expectations. The expectations also make good starting points for discussions.
I think it prudent from time to time to re-examine my philosophy of classroom management. My philosophy of classroom management has changed over the years. When I was a newbie teacher, I thought if I used the right techniques for classroom management everything would be OK. Well, I’ve learned and used many classroom management techniques over the years, but I have come to the conclusion that while excellent management techniques are necessary for classroom success, they are not sufficient for classroom success. I found that developing an authentic relationship with my students helped my classroom management more than any of the latest classroom management techniques. When kids saw that I cared about them, they better managed their behaviour in class. I start to develop positive relationships with my students on the first day of school by asking these nine questions. How do you develop positive relationships with your student?
Of course I want my students to be successful. All teachers do. But, I think the Ministry of Education and I have different ideas about what student success means. I don’t think students are successful if they only develop intellectual skills. Earning a high school diploma may be a necessary condition for student success, but it is not a sufficient condition for achieving student success. Students aren’t just one dimensional beings. Students, like everyone else, are multidimensional. We all have an intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimension that needs nurturing. Students need help developing intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually (not in a religious sense but in the sense of dealing with alienation, with sense of identity, ) . So Ministry of Education, what are you going to do to help meet the spiritual needs of students?